Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Test Game - Martian Messiah

After getting all my toys out I decided to run a test game of Soldier's Companion. I chose scenario 1 from the book: Martian Messiah. This is a fairly classic search and destroy mission with a platoon of British sweeping the area of a Martian village looking for a native ne'er do well: Sootaman the Impressive.

Sootaman and a small band of followers have been wreaking havoc on the monorail line. A small force must be sent to flush him out. Sootaman has other ideas - he hopes to eliminate the impudent earthers and score an important moral victory.

British Forces:

Lieutenant Atkinson, Sergeant Meriwether and their platoon of hearty souls. 
The British get one platoon of infantry or ten men total rated regular V1. Now the scenario didn't specify exactly what weapons the platoon was carrying so since they had Lee-Metfords molded on that is what I gave them. This will have implications later on.

Martian Forces:

Sootaman and his bodyguards - the Spine Forest Freedom Fighters
The Martians get a full war band of 19 split as usual between cutters and shooters.  The shooters have rifle muskets.  Sootaman on the right is considered to be musket armed as well and the entire force is rated X3.

Victory Conditions:

The British must capture or kill Sootaman and successfully return him to base. The Martians must wipe out the British, and keep Sootaman free.

The Game:

Since I was playing solo, markers were laid out in the main areas of cover. One of these was marked to show the location of Sootaman. As each marker was flipped, a simple randomizing table was used to determine what forces were there. The Sootaman counter would always have at least one half company with him.  

Initial setup:

In the starter's blocks
The British  began in column ready to head out on the hunt. The Martians begin concealed.

Turns -1 to 0

Martian win the initiative roll twice even with the British getting a +1 due to being regular.  The Martians hold, The British brew up. 

Turn 1

Tally Ho!
Finally the dice roll in favour of the Empire and the platoon heads up the road moving 18" in column.

Turn 2

Form Line!

Prepare for contact!
Again gaining the initiative, the platoon takes a half move into line and heads 6" towards the first marker. Being V1, they can only see 5" into concealing terrain so are a few inches short and can't Flip it.

Turn 3

Beat the bushes lads!
Another initiative to the British. They move to contact....

There he is!
And flush out Sootaman....

Kill the Red Men!
And some of his friends! The Martians deploy en masse around their fearless leader and musket fire rattles through the spine trees. Nine figures in the unit but mass formation means only the front 5 fire and since they are firing muskets, those five are halved to 2.5 and rounded up to 3. They roll no hits and the Red Men easily pass the morale test

Turn 4

The dice gods are with the British, they keep initiative....

So many dice....
And fire into the brush.  Atkison knows his pistol won't reach so instead shouts at his men to Fire! Nine men with magazine rifles firing at short range is 18 dice and they give six hits. The Martians would get +1 for light cover but they also get -1 for being in mass so no saving throws required. (Bad formation choice. The Martian commander needs to go back to junior leader school I think.)

Bloody carnage.....
Six Martians fall including Sootaman and the commanding bannerman. Now here I made an important error or two. When regulars take casualties, half come from NCOs not so for irregulars. For both regulars and irregulars, officer casualties are rolled for (over the number of casualties taken to save, a moot point here) with officer casualties replacing an NCO or regular casualty. Either way, Sootaman or the bannerman should have survived.

True Martian Bravery!
With six hits taken, the Martians must roll 3 or less or they break and run but they pass! They fire back but with only two dice there is no effect. Since their leadership has (wrongfully) been destroyed, they surrender to the British not wanting to run and be shot down like sand weasels.

Turn 4

Into ignominious captivity
The victorious forces of the empire police up their captives and prepare to return home.

Too far to help...
To see if the other half company could have intervened, I rolled to see where they would show up.

Just beyond charge range....
As it turned out, they were just out of reach. With no ranged weapons, a running fight was a pointless waste of life and the remaining bannerman decided to melt back into the temple ruins.

RTB victorious.

End game.
As a game to refamiliarize myself with the rules it was a good one. Obviously the magazine rifles were too much, in the fluff only Guards have them. More thought should have been given to the Martian deployment and formation. A better and more intelligent automated solo play system will have to be worked on.

Game 2 

A different result
Just as I was packing everything away, my friend Marc showed up so we reset the table. and ran the same scenario again. This time, the British were hit with close combat but managed to break off just enough to shoot the cutters off the field. The shooters sadly were just out of range so could not immediately contribute. Stout souls that they were they charged in anyway but were eventually shot apart. In the end Sootaman and the remaining band officer tried to flee only to fall under a hail of lead. But Mars had struck a blow killing nearly half of the invaders. At the end of a very long supply line, Britain cannot afford Pyrrhic victories like this one.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Martian Muster

This past weekend, I set up my games table in the garage and got all my Space 1889 bits out to photograph and inventory. A fair bit of this has appeared before in different configurations but everything is now mustered into more or less fixed units, and colour coordinated too! Taking the inventory also allowed me to figure out what pieces needed to be repaired and based up and where I needed to add some rank indicators to bring the units in line with the morale rules.

Oh'ktava'n's Experimental Company - The Stalwarts
All armoured with shield gunners in the first half company, cutters in the rear. Regular V0 or E0

Kas'trum Fencibles
An armoured front half company with a mix of cutters and shield guns backed by an unarmoured half company of cutters. Regular T0 or V0.

First Kas'trum Marines
A regular pure shooter company, under strength but equipped with rifled muskets. Regular V1S 

Loyal Kas'trum Company
A very conventional city state unit with shooters and cutters. Irregular T2

Kas'trum Civic Guard
An irregular unit with mixed shooters and cutters in the front and pure cutters in the rear. Irregular T2 or G2 seem most likely. Though they might get a boost for their fancy black uniforms. 

Pier Worm Roaster's Guild Social Club and Civil Defence Force "The Red Caps". (Left)
The Gentleman's League of Redweed Harvesters and Patriotic Rifle Corp "The Blue Bonnets" (Right)
His August Eminence and Grand Master of Secret Societies (Centre)
The Red Caps have been described elsewhere.   The Blue Bonnets are new comers who claim their constant battles against the armoured mud-crab make them far better shots than mere slug poachers. The Grand Master has his fingers in most occult goings on including the Ground Cleansers and possibly even the Cult of the Worm.   X3S or V3S. Rifled muskets.
Second Oenotrian Lancers - The Canal Terrors
After the dragoons were rotated out, a stronger contingent of lancers was sent in as replacements. Armoured and (obviously) equipped with lances, the Terrors are regular V0H so lots of close combat bonuses.
Num'da's Raiders
Boosted by brothers sisters and cousins in search of booty, the slightly under strength Raiders are Irregular T2.

Kas'trum Scouts
Again seeing an influx of mercenaries from the hills, the scouts have a half company of shooters and another of bow. Irregular T2.

The Horde of Antevaxx
The Ochre Horde of Antevaxx Rules for their use have been laid out in an earlier post. Irregular V1 or E1 for King's Guards

Mixed artillery
As mentioned in a previous post, the canal Martian gunners are used to mark when field pieces are on the Martian side manned by Askari crews. New additions are two howitzers, four RAFM Greek fire projectors re-purposed as light guns and two ancient ballistae - stats for which I have not yet settled on.

Moeris Lacus Dragoons
A new unit of light cavalry with musket and sword, the Dragoons are Regular X2. Alternatively they can act as Light Horse or mounted infantry.

Moeris Lacus Trucial Company "The Prince's Own"
Recruitment efforts have boosted the Prince's Own to a full company. As before they can also play on the Martian side as Askari deserters. Or they can act as Dragoon dismounts. Regular X2

Gerneral Sir Not Appearing in this Film
Ok he was still in the box when I had the rest of the Earth forces out to photograph.

Royal Marine Light Infantry
Still in need of an officer. These can, in a pinch, sub in as some sort of foreign European force. Regular V1.

3rd Civil Service Rifles - "The Paper Clip Boys"
A slightly over strength company of riflemen from the Dominion of Canada. Regular X2S.

The Queen's Own Something or Others
Good old regular line infantry. The blue facings suggest Guards but these can be used for any British unit as required. Regular V1

Gatling gun and Pack Options
Just a Gatling gun and a couple of types of pack animals to lug it around. Charging at the elephants gets a +1 down hill bonus - these are big castings.

Tri-wheel Draisine
An armoured rail vehicle to patrol my monorail.

Ewing System rolling stock
A quickly put together locomotive and rolling stock for my monorail. On the flatcar is  another tri-wheel that remarkably survived a fall to the garage floor. It is going into the shop for a re-glue and re-paint.

The To Do pile
From left to right, repair, rank and re-base.

All The Toys
All the toys on the table. It is 4' by 7'. I think I have enough for now....

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Analogue Painting Challenge - the final tally

As I mentioned a long while back, I decided to participate in the Analogue Painting Challenge for 2015-16.  I set myself a goal of 500 points and wound up producing 675. I am quite proud of this and very much appreciate the kick in the pants it gave me to complete my Space 1889 painting.

Apart form Space 1889 and general VSF, I also managed to fit in some terrain for Chain of Command and a couple of vehicles for grunts.

The images following are a visual record of my production.

More Lead

Martian and Askari Artillery

Askari and more Artillery

Crocean Heavy Lancers

Hill Martian Lights

Guild Rifles

Hill Martian Light Cavalry

Grave Digger

The Mechanic


Lady in Green

Dapper Gent

Street tough

Not Preston Manning

Gentleman on the move

Anarchist Sniper

Barbed Wire

More Wire

The Black Beaks - Askari mounted

Hover APC Malta Pattern I

Hover APC Malta Pattern II

At times it took some pushing but on the whole, a good experience.  Thanks to Curt for running it.